Tag Archives: tax refund fraud

Tax Season 2016 – Claim Your Refund ASAP!

canstockphoto2986221Tax season 2016 is heating up rapidly. And as we’ve told you it is also scam season. Cyber crooks and identity thieves can’t  wait to use those millions of stolen Social Security numbers to file false claims and reap in millions more in fraudulent refunds. The best advice, whether or not you’re expecting a refund, is file your return as soon as possible! 

The IRS and most state tax agencies won’t get your W-2 information until April. This presents cyber criminals with a window of opportunity to file a fraudulent return using your Social Security number if they have it.  New laws should shorten that time by at least a month next year. But that is no help this year.

 According to the IRS 90 percent of federal refunds will be mailed or deposited within 21 days after returns are filed. But that still gives identity thieves plenty of time to file a fraudulent return before the IRS receives your W-2. 

According to Sandra Block of Kiplinger.com crooks using stolen Social Security numbers claimed $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds in 2013 and the IRS says it blocked phony refunds worth another $24.2 billion.

So again our best advice is to not to wait to file your return. File as soon as you have all your documents. Quickly filing your return and claiming your refund can prevent a thief with your social security number from hijacking your refund before you get it. If you got it they can’t get it!

If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft or your Social Security number has been stolen you can file an Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) with the IRS. 

Another to place to go if you believe that your identity has been stolen is Identitytheft.gov. This is a one stop comprehensive website to handle identity theft complaints and get you started at recovering your identity.

Even if you’re not concerned about someone stealing your tax refund, you should file early for the following reasons;

  • You will get your refund sooner.
  • You will have more time to plan if you owe money (it’s not due until April 15)
  • You’ll have more time to deal with any issues that come up. Tax firms and accountants are busy this time of year so  don’t wait until the last minute.

Now you know.

Tax Season 2016 – Hackers Attack IRS

irs-logoHackers are hell bent on stealing tax refunds. On Tuesday the IRS announced an attack that occurred last month in which cyber criminals were able to steal taxpayer identification numbers before the Internal Revenue Service detected and shut down the attack. Hackers stole customer “Electronic Filing PINs,” meant to ensure information security. These PINs would enable hackers to file fraudulent tax returns.

More and more Americans are filing their taxes online. Officials expect 80 percent of the 150 million returns will be filed online this tax season. As a result the number of attempts by hackers to file fake returns and steal tax refunds is on the rise.

In a statement the IRS said that the hackers used a sophisticated automated software that used more than 450,000 stolen Social Security numbers to try to generate e-filing PINs. Even though the attack was stopped they were successful in securing about 100,000 PINS.

According to the IRS the SSN’s were “stolen elsewhere outside the IRS.” The agency added, “no personal taxpayer data was compromised or disclosed” by its systems. The IRS said it will notify taxpayers affected by the attack and will flag their accounts to guard against identity theft.

The IRS and the federal government are in possession of incredible amounts of personal data of U.S. citizens, Yet the government appears almost helpless to protect this data from cyber theives. Last year alone the government lost the data, including electronic finger print files,  of over  20 million Americans in a historic data breach of the Office of Personnel Management.

On Tuesday President Barack Obama proposed to spend $19 billion on more-secure technology for the government. If approved by Congress the money would be used to recruit cyber security experts, reducing reliance on unsafe items like SSNs, and overhauling the government’s computers.

Tax Season 2016 – Beware Tax Scams

Courtesy Stuart Miles

Courtesy Stuart Miles

Its tax season again and as always the cyber scum is out to get you. No matter how many warnings are sent out to the tax paying workers of America there is always someone who gets taken (robbed) by a smooth talking criminal. They come at you through the phone, email, snail mail and a even knock at your door. And if you don’t know how to deal with them you are gonna lose money. In many cases a lot of money.

Tax seas0n is scam season so you need to be alert and aware of a few things. First of all make sure you know and completely understand how the IRS works, how they contact you and how they collect money. Without this knowledge you are gonna get robbed. Keep in that most four of five tax returns are filed electronically. Another fact;  out of 10,000 scams tracked by the Better Business Bureau in 2015, nearly a fourth of are tax related. 

Lets talk about how the criminals will come at you this tax season so you don’t become this years sucker.

Phone Extortion  – Going back to 2003 there has been 900,000 phone calls to tax payers claiming to be the IRS and demanding immediate payment or the tax payer will face legal penalties or jail. The scam comes back every year, slightly modified but still the same scam and it still gets plenty of suckers.  

Don’t be that sucker! The IRS will never call you and demand immediate payment…never!  The IRS will send you a letter telling you if you have a tax bill. They will send you more letters if you ignore that one. The letter will have a contact number on it. If you ignore enough letters they will come registered mail. But any demand for immediate payment should be looked upon with deep suspicion. If you have any doubts call the IRS using the number on the website. Never return a call to a number the caller leaves you. Protect yourself and makes sure you know who you are talking to and never every give personal information to some you don’t know.

Phishing emails Cyber criminals send these emails out by the millions. These scum can make a very real looking and exact copies of the IRS logo and website. Check you URL or web address carefully.  You might find it reads www.irs.net or www.irs.us or some other deception. The IRS website address is www.irs.gov.

Don’t be that sucker! The IRS does not send you emails with links or attachments. The IRS does not send out emails period!  Do not fill out any forms attached to an email as you may be giving out enough information to have your identity stolen. So if you get an IRS email delete it. 

The name of the game when it come to your money and information is trust no one. Make them prove everything before you answer a question or send out a dime.

For more information check out these links.

Top 4 Scariest Tax Scams 2015

IRS Tax Scams 2015

IRS.gov – Taxes. Security. Together.